Color is an amazing thing. It speaks to the personality of an observed element or entity. Color is universal and, by nature, a communication medium.

When it comes to web design, proper color application is of the utmost importance.

Artful application of color on a site is necessary to obtaining a high quality, professional feel that is well received by viewers. If a website is not visually appealing to its viewers, they may miss its content altogether and exit to seek something more desirable.

During site creation, it helps developers to have an understanding of color theory. They can start a color scheme by examining the color wheel, which has 3 color groupings: primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors. When using the wheel, it is easy to stratify these colors. Primary colors are yellow, blue and red; they cannot be created by mixing any other colors together. However, the primary colors can be mixed together to create new colors: purple, orange and green, otherwise known as secondary colors. Tertiary colors are formed by mixing secondary colors.

Color theory dictates how colors can be mixed for optimal use; this can vary depending on the content and format of the website itself. When choosing colors for a site, designers should choose color combinations that are subtle and harmonious to the eye. A simple method for choosing color combinations is to mix comparable colors to see if they work well together. Colors can be combined from the same color palette but should not be too dark or bright, as this will distract viewers from the page’s content.

When choosing colors for a website, it shouldn’t be about what colors the designer personally prefers, it should be about strengthening the website with a scheme that best matches their client’s company’s feel. Colors that may work well individually may not work well together. Color combination can be seen as a science as well as an art. Mixed colors cause a reaction that can make the observer feel acute or subtle emotion. Colors can symbolize and be evaluated internally and sentimentally – designers use color to reach into the hearts of their target audience.

The “color” of the human mind can be significant when it comes to design. Color creates ideas, sparks interest, expresses a message and generates feeling. Some colors have universal expression. For example, red is a color of warning and green is a color of nature; however, if you put the 2 colors together, most people would associate them with Christmas. Dark colors tend to set a certain mood of what can be described as “negative” emotion, while bright colors tend to suggest a “positive,” happy temperament. According to color psychology, warm colors show creativity, excitement and optimism, with cool colors symbolizing peace, harmony and calmness.

Psychologists say that people are susceptible on a an intuitive level to color impression and that 60% acceptance or rejection of a website is tied to this fact. A site’s color scheme has the ability to induce a positive impact on the viewer which, as a result, can make them stay longer and maintain a higher level of engagement. The longer a visitor decides to stay on a site, the better the chance they will take action.

There are a few things developers should be sure of in order to gain viewer interest in their websites. They should evaluate the product or service to be sold. For example, if “green” or environmental products are being sold, it would be best to avoid colors like red, pink, or orange; greens and earth tones would be appropriate here. Designers should focus on the target audience with consideration of the generation they believe will stumble upon the site. Also, improper color blending can cause eye fatigue. Truthfully, too much of any color isn’t pleasing to the eye and can create a “gaudy” atmosphere. Color should accentuate content to keep focus on the content.

When deciding on the color of text, developers can’t ever go wrong choosing black. Black is easy on the eye and stands out. However, there are instances where this is not the case, like when a color scheme is dark and a light text color is needed for readability.

Color choices:

-Red: red is attractive and powerful. It would go well for websites that are focused on products for children. Red is also a good color for a button, with examples being “Reserve Now” or “Open Page.”

-Orange: orange is generally used in sites involving food products. Many companies use orange – it is known to promote creativity and positive thinking.

-Yellow: yellow signifies creativity and cheerfulness. It appeals well to children.  As yellow is bright, it finds good use as an accent color.

-Green: green is used on sites that relate to nature. It is pleasing to the eye and invokes trust and wealth in addition to symbolizing prosperity.

-Blue: blue is a conservative color which values high-trust and is known to relax the nervous system. It is good to use with diet products or sites offering high-tech products.

-Purple: purple is generally used on vacation and religious sites.

-Black: black is a strong color used on photography and art related websites.

Color use is part of a complete package when it comes to selling a site. While it is not the only component of a successful site, it can be a make or break factor in terms of gaining customers.

Here are some free tools designers can use to choose color schemes:

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